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Independents' Day

Raise your game to win tenders fight

GPs must have a unique selling proposition if they want to beat off the challenge of private firms in PCT tender processes, new guidance is advising.

The guidance from Surrey and Sussex LMCs says GPs need to decide how they are going to compete and what sort of organisation they will be to set themselves apart.

Strategies practices need to consider include whether they are going to compete by differentiating the type of service they will offer, focusing on a limited field of activity or concentrating solely on price.

Successful GPs will be outward looking, quickly engage with ideas, and adapt working conventions in response to patient needs, the guidance states.

Dr James Gillgrass, chief executive of Surrey and Sussex LMCs, said it drew up the advice after it became obvious GP bids were often inferior to the private sector. He said: 'After two or three tenders, doctors involved were saying the quality of tenders by the private sector was way above what GPs were providing. There was no comment that GPs' efforts were slapdash but the quality was different.'

Nigel Grinstead, managing director of consultancy Healthskills, which helped draw up the guidance, said he had seen some GP tender documents written in biro. He said: 'You need substance of course but the reality is there were a lot of very professional, well-presented approaches.'

How to win PCT tenders

• Be more outward looking

• Engage quickly with new


• Show how you react to changing needs of PCTs and the public

• Develop enhanced marketing, planning and finance skills

• Identify your competitive advantage

• Present your ideas professionally and coherently on paper – not in biro!

• Be prepared to think on your feet in oral questioning, and to cater for lay interviewers

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